Gel Coat Chip Repair - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-09-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Gel Coat Chip Repair

My gel coat is pealing off in large areas of my Scamp. The pictures show a few of them, but once I started peeling they got MUCH bigger. I found a post about what it was caused by, but no good post about how to fix it. I still don't understand how to repair it. As of now there is NO damage to the fiberglass below.

Plan #1: peel off as much of the gel coat comes off easily, then fill with Marine Tex putty untill level with the old gel coat (or just below) and then gel coat over until it matches the rest of my egg and looks pretty.

problem: Someone said gel coat will not stick to Marine Tex. So plan #1 seems to be foiled. Similarly people have suggested Bondo, but a bunch of marine forums said Bondo not suggested and not very water proof?

Plan #2: just peel off the easily pulled of gel coat and fill with a layer or two of gel coat...

Plan #2 does not seem like the best since the voids are a little deep (gel coat layer + some air space before pristine fiberglass, and I assume would require some sort of filler

plan #3: My friend has talked about using epoxy from West systems with some sort of filler like fiber glass or some sort of balls?, but I was quickly overwhelmed with number of options.


The final plan is to fix all the damage and then Poliglow the camper until it shines like a new born baby's bottom... or at least doesn't look like what the baby left in the diaper any more.

Also any suggests on how to get the window out without breaking anything. The rubber seal is rock hard (lots of colorado sun me thinks).
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1988 19 ft Scamp
Oregon
Posts: 137
Kevin,

I'm doing fiberglass body repair on a Trillium. I talked with a very reputable local boat repair place and with a co-worker who has built several planes doing extensive fiberglass work. They both recommended using a fiberglass filled filler. I'm using USC duraglass. It can be purchased at NAPA or any shop that sells autobody repair items. This goes on like bondo, is waterproof, bonds with the existing fiberglass, and will bond with gel coat. You mix it thoroughly with a hardener to activate it, then apply it with a stiff putty knife to make sure that it is "packed" tight and that there are no bubbles.

I've learned that it is easiest to apply it built up higher than you want, then use 34-40 grit sandpaper on a long sanding block to shape it to match the surrounding area. Then, work you way up to finer sandpaper to smooth out the scratches and get it ready for gel coat. I haven't applied any gel coat yet, so we'll see how long it takes me to learn the tricks for that.

-Isaac
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:48 PM   #3
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Thanks much

Thanks Isaac. I assume I would use the same stuff to fill old bolt holes. My cabinets are starting to fallout, leaving the holes for the rivets. Drill out the holes and put in bigger rivets? Better idea?

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Originally Posted by Isaac M View Post
Kevin,

I'm doing fiberglass body repair on a Trillium. I talked with a very reputable local boat repair place and with a co-worker who has built several planes doing extensive fiberglass work. They both recommended using a fiberglass filled filler. I'm using USC duraglass. It can be purchased at NAPA or any shop that sells autobody repair items. This goes on like bondo, is waterproof, bonds with the existing fiberglass, and will bond with gel coat. You mix it thoroughly with a hardener to activate it, then apply it with a stiff putty knife to make sure that it is "packed" tight and that there are no bubbles.

I've learned that it is easiest to apply it built up higher than you want, then use 34-40 grit sandpaper on a long sanding block to shape it to match the surrounding area. Then, work you way up to finer sandpaper to smooth out the scratches and get it ready for gel coat. I haven't applied any gel coat yet, so we'll see how long it takes me to learn the tricks for that.

-Isaac
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:18 PM   #4
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 22
I used to repair gelcoat bath tubs and hot tubs for a living, gelcoat is actually quite easy to work with.

You need to remove any loose gelocat and lightly sand the fibreglass underneath to get a nice clean surface for the filler. I used a rotary tool with a small grinder head for this.

On the tubs, I would use fibreglass reinforced body filler, it is very similar to bondo. You mix it with a catalyst hardener and spread it on with a putty knife. As Issac said, you want it slightly higher than the repair so you can sand it down smooth with increasingly fine sand paper using a block. Use the wet & dry sand paper when you get around 400 grit.

Gelcoat can be brushed, rolled or sprayed on, spraying gives the best finish. You can brush or roll on the first coat or two and sand it down with 600 or finer wet sandpaper to get rid of any small pinholes, scratches or imperfections. Make sure that you use unwaxed gelcoat (laminating) until you are ready for the final coat, then use waxed gelcoat (finishing) for the final application. The difference between the two is that the unwaxed will not completely harden on the surface, allowing for multiple coats. You can also mix different colours to get one that comes close the the existing colour of the trailer, I always had to do this when repairing tubs so the repair wouldn't show.

You can sand the finish coat as well, especially if you don't spray it on. I would used a very fine wet/dry (800 grit or finer) sand paper for this. Be careful not to sand it right through the coat then just use an automotive rubbing compound to get the gloss back then you can polish the whole area with an automotive polishing compound and a little elbow grease to get a nice gloss.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the help. Names of of good products that you have used is very useful. It's actually seems easier to find directions on the process then specifics of WHAT to use. Also once you find a good product often time the companies will produce videos of it being used...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevC View Post
I used to repair gelcoat bath tubs and hot tubs for a living, gelcoat is actually quite easy to work with.

You need to remove any loose gelocat and lightly sand the fibreglass underneath to get a nice clean surface for the filler. I used a rotary tool with a small grinder head for this.

On the tubs, I would use fibreglass reinforced body filler, it is very similar to bondo. You mix it with a catalyst hardener and spread it on with a putty knife. As Issac said, you want it slightly higher than the repair so you can sand it down smooth with increasingly fine sand paper using a block. Use the wet & dry sand paper when you get around 400 grit.

Gelcoat can be brushed, rolled or sprayed on, spraying gives the best finish. You can brush or roll on the first coat or two and sand it down with 600 or finer wet sandpaper to get rid of any small pinholes, scratches or imperfections. Make sure that you use unwaxed gelcoat (laminating) until you are ready for the final coat, then use waxed gelcoat (finishing) for the final application. The difference between the two is that the unwaxed will not completely harden on the surface, allowing for multiple coats. You can also mix different colours to get one that comes close the the existing colour of the trailer, I always had to do this when repairing tubs so the repair wouldn't show.

You can sand the finish coat as well, especially if you don't spray it on. I would used a very fine wet/dry (800 grit or finer) sand paper for this. Be careful not to sand it right through the coat then just use an automotive rubbing compound to get the gloss back then you can polish the whole area with an automotive polishing compound and a little elbow grease to get a nice gloss.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #6
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 22
Hi Kevin,

A good place to start is evercoat. They also have a YouTube channel. The have both filler (Everglass and Glass-lite is what I used) and gelcoat. I have not used their gelcoat, I bought mine from Fibertek which is local to Vancouver.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:19 PM   #7
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
West System

Thanks much. I also found the West system website and they have some manuals. Looks like interesting stuff because the resin and fillers are sold seperately, so you just mix up exactly what you need depending on what you are up to (in theory).
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:04 PM   #8
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Name: Matt and Lindsey
Trailer: 1972 Boler 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 140
West System makes great products. We are using it to replace our floor in our Boler. Simple to use and different fillers to meet any needs. It is just expensive but well worth it.
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